The Journey, The Market & The Manuscript

The Journey

I marched through thick
snow until leaves began
to reappear on deciduous trees,
pine needles protruding from toes
Dragons scuttled across walls
dented free forms,
shapes through cloud patterns
against the canvass of azure

Before it was all swirling colours
and neon lasers in aurora's land

I was under the impression
that no forms were fixed
until I came to the southern sea
and discovered the waves came in patterns


The Market

On the outer aisle everything was ordinary -
saffron spice,
ivory and diamonds, red hued
Philippina wives: green eyes and Spanish hips
West African kola nuts
baobob trees and tours across sands

The great market was covered by blue tarp,
an uneven dome over economic madness
Tables filled with flamenco clapping
Exotic love on scented incense smoke
Laughter cheap in bulk, the same in all languages

Fresh bottled water taken from the tap
with iodine additives,
aged to perfection
Land on the moon
Empty space or wisdom by the gram

Third world working hands,
souls and dreams revoked for convenience
Buy politics or witticisms
Rent family, happiness by the hour
Aromas of pheromone soap
and the smell of the sea

Dirt for sale from nimbus clouds
Swamp smoke -
speak to alligators and eat seasoned tree bark
All Atlantian delicacies
Religions, sects and cults -
pay your soul's membership fees

Watch fabulous spectacles and cruise mud-sleds,
vacations in Balinese water temples -
the papal suite
Rent your own stall and sell your work ethic
Trade family members in free markets
for sacred pillar of individualism
anything but a bowl of rice 


The Manuscript

Automated typewriter ticks letters,
stanzas spelled out by ghostly author
Or archaic bird-bone quill
moving like swordplay on scroll,
edges burnt and decayed
Phantasmal inspirations
clamoring together
overlapping in palimpsest
Epic journeys and extended metaphors
Developed characters and intricate plots
unpublished, legendary
Unread by waking eyes and
dreamt by untold literary giants
A flawless manuscript -
the ideal of subconscious perfection

Joshua Rapp Learn's poems are from Recollected Dreams and are published or forthcoming in Other Voices, A View From Here, Prairie Journal, The Maynard and Avocet. After a year working in Latin America for local English newspapers like The Argentina Independent and The Rio Times.